By Kathy Wai
2016 continues to be one of the biggest election years, and it’s a critical year for APANO to be involved. Nationally, our country will decide on our next President, who will be ultimately responsible for setting laws and policies that will affect families and communities. In recognition of May as Asian and Pacific Islander American heritage month, we celebrate our accomplishments and contributions as a community, but also realize continued anti-immigrant remarks, hate rhetoric, and discrimination.We are working hard to fully engage our API communities in the democratic process. Despite our growing numbers, API’s are the most under registered group and have the lowest voter turnout during elections. APANO hopes to change that, and actively engage our communities and volunteers for mobilization and empowerment!
With the Oregon Primary elections officially over, we wanted to recap some of our civic engagement highlights and also thank our amazing volunteers!
Voter registration: Over the past 6 months, we have registered 3,000 voters (approx.) through ongoing activities such as NAVP where we register new citizens and tabling at major community events. We are also proud to be part of a national movement towards automatic voter registration with Oregon leading the way. Read the media coverage.
We were also able to join the South East Asian New Year Celebration in April and the Asian American Youth Leadership Conference (AAYLC) in May to register brand new voters and connect with them!
Candidate engagement: Over 60 community members attended our three candidate forums for Portland Mayor (hosted in partnership with the Lee’s Family Association), and for HD 47 and HD 43. We also had over a dozen responses from our candidate questionnaire in targeted key districts and races.
Getting out the vote: A big thank you to 25 volunteers who came out and did two nights of phone banking right before election day! Volunteers reached out to over 700 members in the two days, reminding them to turn in their ballots, and providing valuable information and resources.
Finally, we have another big election ahead of us! If you’re interested in getting involved with APANO’s civic engagement work, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Civic Engagement Manager